Tag Archives: NFL

Google Brings Howard University to Silicon Valley

Google is bringing computer science majors from Howard University to the famed Silicon Valley. Starting this summer Howard University will open a campus at the Googleplex in Mountain View, CA. Junior and senior computer science majors from Howard’s computer science program can attend the aptly named “Howard West” for three months.  Senior Google engineers and faculty from Howard will serve as instructors. 

It is extremely expensive living in the Silicon Valley even for three months. The school says the students will be provided with “a generous stipend to cover housing and other expenses in Silicon Valley.” According to the school the money will come from Howard and private donors.

Howard University program is expected to host only 25-30 students this summer but plans are to expand the program to as many as 750 students from all HBCU’s over the next five years. 

Google Vice President of Global Partnerships and Howard University alumna, Bonita Stewart said the partnership with Howard University “is now the centerpiece of Google’s effort to recruit more black software engineers from Historically Black Colleges and Universities and to make them feel right at home here in Mountain View.”

Google like, many tech giants, have struggled to achieve the elusive goal of diversity. For the past few years Google openly shared data on its workforce revealing the race, gender and ethnicity of each employee hired the previous year. Although the number of African-American employees went up they still only respresented 2 percent of the Google’s employees. Google admits it still struggles to met its diversity goals.

According to Stewart Google believes “Howard West” helps Google reach that goal faster. “We have the opportunity to be able to build a qualified pipeline of talent across the black community,” she said.

Breaking It Down

I like and applaud the annoucement but it is backwards. First of all why is Howard University sending students out to Silicon Valley; the most expensive to place to live on the planet? Howard University and private donors are going to pay for rent and accompanying expenses. Google isn’t coughing up a dime for those expenses. But why not? Its called an investment. But wouldn’t it make more sense from an academic and financial standpoint to bring the Google engineers to Howard as instructors? This would allow more students to gain from the companies knowledge. Why isn’t there a program from Google and other tech giants to offer these high level computer engineers to HBCU campuses on a sabbitical to teach black computer science majors?  This would allow them to select the very best black students for the high paying internship program. And I do mean high paying. Interns at Google can pull in $10,000 a month according to a report from Purdue University. Its called an investment. Black computer science students don’t need a 90 day field trip to California. What they need is the Google Academy at Howard University. What they need is Microsoft Coding School at Alabama A&M. What they need is for these multi-billion dollar companies to spend money to address these problems and quite playing around with short sighted ideas. Invest in black schools and your diversity problem will soon be a thing of the past. My point is this, major corporations like the NBA and the NFL have great relationships with colleges, unversities and even high schools that allow them to find the very best black athletes. Its called an investment. Why can’t major tech companies do the same if they are looking for the very best black computer science students? Answer me that.

 

 

App of the Week – theScore

theScore-S-LogoThe NFL season is now in full effect. And if you are a football fan then you are probably a year round sports fan. Thats why theScore is the App of the Week.

There are a lot of sports apps on the market, a lot! But when it comes to following multiple sports, multiple teams and multiple players its tough to beat theScore. theScore app is great because sports seasons overlap. Right now we have baseball and football. Then its football and basketball and lets not forget hockey and soccer and collegiate sports. If you are sports hungry this is the app that will feed you.

theScore delivers up-to-the-second game updates and statistics. You can keep track of all the late breaking sports news as well. The calendar permits the user to see upcoming games.

Another great feature is the ability to research past games, stats and most important plays. You can keep an eye on the game of your choice, follow individual players and play-by-play breakdowns and especially the big plays that change games. The social media features of the app allow you to share stories, stats and game summaries with your fellow sports nuts.

theScore is free and available for Apple and Android.

Congressional Black Caucus Talks Diversity in Silicon Valley

CONGRESSIONAL-BLACK-CAUCUS_2_20Members of the Congressional Black Caucus Diversity Task Force traveled to Silicon Valley on Sunday. The objective of the visit was to meet with executives from some of the Valley’s biggest companies to discuss ways to get more diversity into America’s technology sector.

Making the trip were CBC Chairman G. K. Butterfield (D-NY)  and Representatives Barbara Lee (D-CA) and Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.). The group met with representatives from Apple, Bloomberg, Google, Intel, Kapor, Pandora and SAP.

“Our goal for this trip is to encourage and partner with these organizations to implement a diversity plan that will place more African-Americans in the tech pipeline,” Butterfield said in a statement Thursday. “This will potentially lead to a wide range of opportunities, from student internships to positions on the boards of tech companies.”

In May the CBC launched a five year program intended to expand recruitment of African-Americans at every level of the industry. According to a CBC TECH 2020 anouncement the tech industry will produce 1.4 million tech jobs by the year 2020. Seventy percent of those jobs will go unfilled. As part of the TECH 2020 initiative the CBC has announced specific goals and principles for tech diversity.

Efforts to bring more blacks, Latinos and women into the technology industry were highlighted by the efforts of civil rights activist Rev. Jesse Jackson who persuaded companies to release their diversity data. The data uncovered that only African-Americans and Latinos were less represented than women in the valley. The percentage of people of color employed in the tech sector were in single digits; the low single digits.

The numbers measured from 2014-2015 indicate that after a year diversity among the biggest tech companies has not improved. Google’s 2015 report showed only 2 percent black employees and 3 percent Hispanic. Google has decided to spend $150 million dollars on improving diversity. That money will not all be spent in house. According to Google half of the money will go to ouside organizations.

In a blog post earlier this week Facebook’s COO Sheryl Sandberg said one of the most important things companies can do to promote diversity in the workplace is ”to correct for the unconscious bias that all of us have.”

Apple computer’s diversity report shows that its workforce is made up of 11 percent Hispanic and 7 percent black employees. Apple’s CEO, Tim Cook, who is on the record as being unsatisfied with the diversity of the workforce, has dedicated $50 million to improve the companies diversity and inclusion.

Rev. Jackson has asked that tech companies create specific, measurable recruitment goals and report their success in meeting those goals.

The executives of Pinterest claim to be the first in the industry to honor Rev. Jackson’s request by publicly announcing their diversity goals.   Pinterest is expanding the number of universities where it recruits, instituting an internship program. The company is working to identify students from underrepresented backgrounds and setting up Inclusion Labs at the company to experiment with new ways to improve diversity. The company has also taken a page from the NFL rule book, the Rooney Rule, that requires that a woman and a minority candidate be interviewed for leadership positions within the company.

Intel, the worlds largest maker of computer chips, is also laying claim to being the first to publicly announce their diversity goal. According to a post from Rosalind Hudnell, VP of Human Resources and Director of Diversity and Inclusion at Intel, the company set its goals out in May of this year. Hudnell also announced a $300 million effort by Intel aimed at increasing diversity in the company. Intel is using some of that money as an incentive for it’s employese to get into the diversity act. Intel will dish out up to $4,000 in bonuses to employees who can recommend a minority or women candidate that can increase the diversity of the workplace.

The most recet report on Silicon Valley diversity was published by Fortune.com on July 30th and it compares the diversity of some of the valley’s biggest companies ranked by gender and ethnicity. You can see the report here.

Related stories

Silicon Valley Cash? Not for Blacks and Women

Congressional Black Caucus to Talk Diversity with Silicon Valley Leaders

 

 

 

Cable Television is Feeling The Heat

Slide1There is not a single black person who has not waited half a day for the cable technician to show up at our house; if they showed up. And who hasn’t put up with poor customer service and high cable bills for channels we don’t watch? You know the package where you get the two channels of you want and fifteen channels of crap! We have paid enough and put up with enough.

Video streaming is what’s happening now. The number of people dumping cable televison, or cutting the cord as some call it, is growing. Research conducted by TiVO subsidiary Digitalsmiths shows that 8.2 percent of former cable TV subscribers have cut the cord. That’s up a full percentage point from last year.  Another 45.2 percent reported having reduced their cable or satellite TV service during the same time frame. A practice known as cord shaving. These stats are putting huge pressure on the cable television industry.

Cord shaving consumers are chosing to go with smaller pay TV bundles. Streaming services like Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Instant Video are becoming the video entertainment of choice. Why? Convenience is the first thing that comes to mind. Anywhere, anytime is a very appealing option. Second is the cost, streaming video services are significantly cheaper than cable television. Third, the shows people know and love are there for the viewing. And finally, cable customer service sucks!

Cable companies are feeling the heat. Verizon FIOS is the first major cable provider to go for the ala carte menu. They now allow cable customers to pick and choose what channels they want to pay for. But in defense of the cable companies they were in a bad position. Many media companies demanded that if the cable company offers one network they had to offer all of them. The result was expensive cable bills for the consumer.

Cable companies are also offering you that DVR thing that costs you so much a month to use but never own. Welcome to the age of the Internet, video streaming, on demand, wherever we want it. NOW! Its becoming obvious that the cable television business model is slowly dying.

Many people are worried about their Internet service and live programming like sports. But that is no longer a concern either. Keeping basic cable and Internet has always been an option. And new streaming services like SlingTV from DISH Network will provide ESPN and ESPN 2 for just $20 a month. You can get other ESPN channels for just $5 more.  And lets not forget that live sports will eventually become a regular part of the streaming media package. Yahoo will stream a live NFL game on October 25th. Its a sign of things to come. Other interesting services that are coming into the marketplace include HBO’s new service HBO Now. This allows you to stream HBO programs and movies as a stand alone service.

But lets get back to the cost of cable television. It is not unheard of for cable bills to be as high as $200 a month. African-Americans need to look at their bill and really make some hard choices about their cable package.  Black families can get an idea of the money they may save by using the interactive calculator provided by MarketWatch.com.

According to the survey 15.3 percent of consumers are planning to either switch, change, or cut the cord completely to cable television service.

Streaming media services offer original programming that is recieving high acclaim. Orange Is The New Black is an extremely popular program that is only available on Netflix. One of the most popular shows in the history of telelvision, Seinfeld, is now available on Hulu Plus. Another one of televisions hottest shows, Empire, is also streaming on Hulu Plus.

Cutting your cable may be a no brainer for some people. For others its a decision that may take some thought. But the bottom line is cable television is being threatened by a new technology with better choices and convenience.  Cable televison operators are fighting to stay in the game but its not looking good. I can take my tablet, laptop or cell phone anywhere and watch whatever I want, when I want.